The French Revolution

This essay has a total of 964 words and 5 pages.

The French Revolution



In looking throughout history revolution has been a common theme. Revolutions sprung up
throughout history for various reasons. Some have been based in politics, others were
based on social reasons, still others were based on economic reasons and some have been
the combination of all these things. Some have involved the independence of nations, some
have involved industries, and others have involved the rise of the middle and lower
classes. Revolutions are thing that have the potential to totally change the face of
society, but at the same time that potential can back fire and cause even more problems.
The reasons for each individual revolution are very distinct. There is not one universal
principle that guides a revolution, but each revolution throughout history has been
influence by the lower and middle classes.

No revolution was more impacted by the influence of the lower class and middle class than
in the French Revolution. The French Revolution was the ultimate example of how and why
the under class struck up against the old views of society. Prior to the revolution France
was under the control of the Old Regime. The Old Regime was a period of time often
considered by many to be representative of a crashed society. Under the old regime, the
king was the absolute monarchy. Under the rule of Louis XIV France’s bureaucracy was
centralized. Louis had absolute power to rule as he pleased. His rule was basically
unchallenged. He had complete control over the system of finance. Louis was a very
extravagant king. His extravagance caused the treasury to be burdened heavily. However,
because Louis had control the finances of the country he was able to create taxes to fund
his royal treasury. He created a tax system that only benefited those who were wealthy.

During the time that Louis reigned as king society was broken down into three orders or
classes. The first group was known as the First Estate. The first estate consisted of the
Clergy, or the Church. They owned nearly 10% of all lands in France. They paid no taxes
under Louis plan. To support the Church’s activities the Church did collect a tithe, or
tax on income. The upper nobles of France were also part of this estate. These people
lived luxurious lives in major French cities such as Paris and Versailles.

The second estate in French life was mainly comprised of about 400,000 individuals who
held all the public offices in the kingdom. These people were born into the nobility and
because of birth were given all the privileges that go along being nobility. This class,
generally characterized by the richest members of society, enjoyed extensive rights, great
land, and much wealth. The Nobles accumulated their wealth by collecting taxes, rent, and
dues for the use of farms and estates. This estate showed how lopsided society really was;
most of the members of this estate weren’t even rich, but were they too were exempt from
taxes.

The third estate consisted of every French citizen who was not classified as either Clergy
or Nobility. It comprised of three main groups: the peasants, the middle class, and the
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